The spread of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities in the United States. While much of the policy discussion has rightly focused on COVID-19’s impact on the health and economic well-being of communities of color, decision makers must also urgently confront how the pandemic is silencing voters of color and harming our democracy.
Legislators and state and county election officials have a responsibility to protect the right to vote and to ensure that policies and operational decisions do not prevent or discourage voters from casting a ballot.
An analysis of voting data from 2018 reveals troubling trends in low turnout, provisional ballot rejection and registration problems. But these barriers are not insurmountable. All Voting is Local together with students and community partners, propose a robust and sustained investment in voter education and poll worker recruitment and training to solve these problems so all students can cast a ballot that counts.
In 2018, Franklin County voters cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots compared to their percentage of the state electorate. Our report examines the reasons behind this and makes recommendations to prevent it from happening again.